When most Cleveland residents think about car accident risks, they are usually considering incidents involving drunk drivers, distracted drivers, or motorists who are speeding or otherwise failing to follow traffic laws. Most of us are not thinking about how well a large truck properly secures its cargo, and whether we are at risk of suffering a serious or fatal injury in a crash caused by materials flying off an 18-wheeler on I-90.
Yet Ohio is one of the most dangerous states for car crashes caused by unsecured loads, according to a recent report from ABC 5 News Cleveland. As the report explains, since “Ohio is among the most lax in the nation when it comes to fines and penalties for unsecured loads,” more trucks drive with heavy loads in ways that are dangerous, and other motorists suffer the consequences.
As an experienced Cleveland truck accident lawyer, I know how devastating a collision can be. I also know that trucking companies have deep pockets and can be held liable for serious and deadly accidents in Ohio. I can help with your accident claim. In the meantime, let me tell you more about this recent report.
Ohio Law Does Not do a Good Job Protecting Motorists from Hazards Caused by Unsecured Loads
Ohio law simply does not do all that it could to ensure that trucking companies properly secure loads, and that light truck drivers follow Ohio law when it comes to securing loads to prevent an accident. As the report explains, under the Ohio Revised Code, this is the only requirement for securing a load:
“No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is so constructed, loaded, or covered as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping therefrom…” What is wrong with this definition? It does not do enough to ensure that drivers properly secure their loads. According to the report, not only is the language of the law insufficient, but the penalties for violating it are too minor for most drivers to care.
Indeed, about six years ago, “Ohio lawmakers actually reduced penalties for unsecured loads.” As a result, the penalties that drivers can face are minimal. A fine for violating Ohio’s law about secured loads is only $150, “and many pay much less,” the report underscores. The report indicates that 2,791 drivers have been cited, and none of those drivers received a higher penalty. Moreover, Ohio law has no specific provision to increase a penalty or to order jail time if the violation results in a serious injury or death.
Properly Securing a Load is Essential to Prevent an Accident
Debris from unsecured loads routinely causes car accidents. According to a study from the American Automobile Association Foundation, road debris was identified as a “factor in a total of more than 200,000 police-report crashes resulting in approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths.”
State law typically governs injuries caused by unsecured loads on both commercial trucking vehicles and light trucks driven by individuals. As the report underscores, most commercial truckers who cause injuries from unsecured loads are not held accountable federally, but instead are subject only to the Ohio law mentioned above.
Contact Me to File a Claim
If you were injured by an unsecured load on a truck, I can speak with you today about filing a truck accident lawsuit. Believe me when I say: I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at 877.944.4373 to get started on the claims process.